Tampa Bay Abortion Fund Launches Educational Campaign on Managing Medication Abortions
“All pregnant people deserve the most comprehensive information when it comes to managing care at home.”
(1/11/22) FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tampa Bay Access Force, the advocacy arm of the Tampa Bay Abortion Fund, is proud to announce the launch of a major initiative to ensure pregnant people in the Tampa Bay area have access to the most comprehensive, evidence-based best practices for ending a pregnancy via the use of abortion pills.
“Knowledge belongs to everyone, and being informed about the most basic best practices when it comes to your body remains a right to every person capable of pregnancy – whether abortion remains legal in this state or not,” said Kris Lawler, TBAF Board President.
With the Supreme Court poised to announce a ruling this June that many expect could curtail or outright eliminate legal abortion access in much of the country, many have worried about the potential dangers that could befall those who decide to obtain medications to terminate a pregnancy outside of a legal abortion clinic. But as Lawler at TBAF explains, as much as 39% of clinic-based abortions in the US are already done via medication, according to the Guttmacher Institute, with patients taking one or in some cases both medications at home.
“We already live in the age of self-managed abortions and have been for two decades,” said Lawler. “Whether a person obtains their medication from a local abortion provider, or purchases them from a verified provider, the dosage, instructions and potential medical risks are all identical. It is this information that we are determined to get into the hands of those who may need it.”
While medication abortion administration is no different regardless of whether the medicine came from a clinic or an online provider, it remains legally risky for those in Florida to obtain medicines outside of current Florida regulations, including requiring an in person visit to a licensed abortion provider. “Instructions for medication abortion were created by the World Health Organization, and it is those protocols that clinics use,” said Lawler. “Sharing those protocols with the possibility that those who may be unable to access an in clinic abortion may also find them is an act of public education we believe is essential for protecting public health.”
TBAF is conducting this educational outreach because as the media covers this topic, they have noted with some concern that inaccurate information regarding self-managed care and abortion itself has been reported. Please see the following information about medication abortion and self-managed care, developed by TBAF.
Medication Abortion and Self-Managed Care Fact Sheet
Medication abortion is the combination of mifepristone and misoprostol as a means of terminating a pregnancy before 12 weeks. For clinical medication abortions, a patient will often take one mifepristone to stop the pregnancy from developing, then wait 24 hours and take four misoprostol either in the cheek or in the vagina, letting it dissolve for 30 minutes, which will begin contractions that will cause the uterus to expel the pregnancy. If both medications are taken and the instructions are followed, the process is successful 93.8% of the time, per a November 2021 Studying Accompaniment Model Feasibility and Effectiveness (SAFE) study posted in Lancet Global Health.
There is no difference in protocol between a medication abortion done at home with medicines from a clinic and a medication abortion done at home with verified medicines procured from a reliable source outside a clinic setting. And scientific studies have found that people who self-manage using pills with accurate information and are able to do so effectively.
In Florida there is currently no ability to obtain medication abortion via telemedine or online. Florida law requires each patient to have an ultrasound prior to an abortion, requiring at least one clinic visit in order to access an abortion, regardless of whether it is a surgical or medication abortion
While there is no specific law stating that a person could be jailed for self-managing their abortion, Florida has a feticide law that protects a fetus or embryo “at any stage of development.” While feticide laws were allegedly intended not to be used against the pregnant person, states like Indiana have used them against people who have procured their own abortions. This means that there can be some legal risk to ending your own pregnancy—especially if using the medications past the recommended time frame of 10-12 weeks—and you can contact the Repro Legal Helpline at 844.868.2812 if you have specific questions about the laws in Florida or your individual risk.
Resources on Self-Managed Abortion:
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